Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, Aug 27 2013 11:07 PM

MLK: A model for animal rights?

The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington has been observed with marches, speeches and speculation on what causes Dr. King would embrace today.

He would certainly continue to work for racial equality. But he would also likely advocate for a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, workers' rights, gay rights and animal rights.

Yes, animal rights. Although he is best known for his advocacy of racial equality, King opposed all violence, like the Vietnam War. And there is no greater violence than that perpetrated each day against billions of cows, pigs, and other sentient animals in America's factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The day before his assassination in 1968, King came to Memphis to champion the most oppressed human beings in America -- African-American sanitation workers. Today it would also be about the most oppressed living beings in America -- animals raised for food, experiments and entertainment.

Although King never lived long enough to extend his circle of compassion, justice and nonviolence to non-human animals, his wife, Coretta Scott King, and his son, Dexter Scott King, did by embracing the vegan lifestyle. A great way for us to honor the King legacy is to follow their lead.

Ray Bell
Bakersfield

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